Coloured pencils and oil pastels lend themselves to out-of-focus subject matter as you can use them in such a soft way that they barely leave a mark. One of my regular subjects is blurry light. I take many photos at night without a flash. When I am photographing I focus on something very close up and then with my finger half-depressed on the shutter-release, gently move the lens so that it is looking into the distance. With this trick I can get totally out-of-focus scenes. “Composition 11” is typical of this…
The result is a fairly abstract composition. I can concentrate on composition; balance, colours and shapes without being bogged down by detail. There is a lot of room for interpretation in this sort of drawing as the less detail there is in a photo, the more opportunity there is to use one’s intuition. There are no hard and fast lines to follow and no absolute borders. You could say it is a kind of impressionism, made with coloured pencils mixed with oil pastels.
The whitest of whites in my drawings (often the centres of street lights) are made by doing nothing…in other words…it is the pure white of the paper with no pencil/pastel at all on.
The picture above, “Lumière” is a good example of complementary colours at work. How did I get the yellow/orange of the light to be SO yellow/orange? You wouldn’t necessarily notice but I have mixed lots of purple/blue into the area surrounding the light. Purple and blue, being the complements of yellow and orange, enable the latter to ‘pop’.
In “White Light” just above “Lumière” you can see the same effect; the pale yellow on the edges of the lantern is surrounded by purple/blue.
Below are some more recent soft-focus or “mixed media impressionism” drawings, completed in 2016. Because these drawings have elements of abstraction and realism, I call the style Abstract Realism.
In October 2016 I revisited Paris and so now I am starting a new body of soft-focus Paris work. These drawings will be part of the exhibition Remember Paris to be shown in September 2018.
Soft-focus drawings from 2017…
In some drawings most of the area is treated in an impressionist way with just the closest subject in sharp focus. I like the contrast of these two states.
Oil pastels and coloured pencils make up my mixed media…
See “My Art Materials” page for more information.